Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Wooden lock; Binding order demo

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

In 2019 Jan-Willem build a binding order demo out of laser cut wood.
In this post we would like to share the project with the rest of the world.

Binding order is the order in which the pins bind in a lock. This is mostly due to the manufacturing tolerances but can have other causes. This concept is hard to grasp for a new lockpicker and is one of those ‘You’ll get it when you see it’ concepts. When teaching lockpicking it is common to hear: ‘I have been pushing down this pin and it doesn’t want to stay down.’ This tool can be used to demonstrate why the pin did not want to stay put.

This demo is certainly not ‘the’ solution. It is just a fair attempt that works for us. It will make the explanation better by adding both the visual and touch to the explanation. The participants can play with the board and feel the effect of binding and what the effect is of using light or strong tension.

For reference: The board is about the size of an A4 piece of paper. The base is crafted from three layers of 3mm plywood. The core is a single sheet and the pins are three or four layers, depending on the feel you prefer. Each pinhole in the base/core has a different size and different offset. All of the pins are a different size er well. This gives plenty of options to change the binding order.

We used the demo in lockpicking villages across the globe. We have found that it helps the explanation immensely when encountering language barriers. Video link to how you can use the binding order demo: https://youtu.be/WiCdws84EuQ

The binding order in this model can be quite subtle. It would great to have another with extreme exaggerated binding order also a smaller, 3D printed version, would be great to have. A bit of paint will not hurt either.

CC-BY-4.0 Jan-Willem Markus Toool Blackbag.

Album for storing a pin collection

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

In 2019 Jan-Willem started with am odd collection. Not the locks, nor the keys, just the pins from a pin tumbler. Pins are in a lock and make them function. However, the pins are only observable when the owner decides to gut the lock or create a cutaway. The idea was simple: Create a collection/archive of pin tumbler pins and their keys. This required a proper way to store the pins.

To store the pins many different boxes have been tried. After many failed attempts Jan-Willem stumbled upon a hobby not to dissimilar from our own: coin collecting! The value of one €2 coin is just €2 to a consumer. While the collector is looking for a 1st edition misprint from Monaco, and not just any coin.

Coins are often stored in albums, either with or without protection. The lowest quality coins protection are two pieces of plastic film and a cardboard cutout. Often glued or stapled together. While the high end coins are with a certificate sealed in an acrylic case. Leuchtturm makes coin boxes in between the two, and at a reasonable price and the inserts are DIY, lasercut acrylic.

First attempt with Leuchtturm boxes.

To store these boxes it was decided to use business card holders, this did not go as plan and required custom holders. First made from acrylic and the second version from wood. Fifty sets of pins are created and thirty are added to the album. This is where the project was stuck for a year.

Pins in album v1

Last week was a good time to continue this project. A proper pleader album was bought. And the pins are added.
This is the result this far:

Abus E90 pins in a box.
Leuchtturm album.
Demonstrating how the Leuchtturm album is used to store pins.
Pins neatly stored in the album.

The album has 48 pins and about 30 more sets are ready to be archived. Acrylic is ordered and the inserts will be created when a lasercutter is accessible again. The photos will be published here on Blackbag. For now you can find one key a day on twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/microkeys?src=hashtag_click&f=live

The coin boxes, album, and inserts are sold under the name Leuchtturm and Lighthouse. These boxes are available on eBay. Link to a Dutch web shop: https://www.knm.nl/leuchtturm-quadrum-capsules-14-mm/nl/product/2741/

The files are available under creative commons, share alike with attribution, commercial use is allowed.

Lockpicks for Hackerspaces

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Post by: Jan-Willem
I’ve recently acquired ~20kg lockpicks, 4000 lockpicks. These where sold by a scrap metal dealer on eBay. As why he had them I can only guess. He did well for not scrap these. The picks are a bit rusty and need work to be useable. As you can imagine cleaning them all by myself will not be fun. There for I decided to sell most of them and give some away. (Yes, this project is not what a sane person would attempt.)

I’ve sold bags of 500g at LockCon. Most will be used at lockpicking villages around Europe. With the remaining picks I’ve created grabbags of about 250gram (50 picks) for the Dutch Hackerspaces. Because every Hackerspace needs lockpicks.

Lockpicks, ~4000 of them!
Lockpicks packed and labelled. Ready to be shipped by Hackermail (Inter-hackerspace delivery service)

The full story can be found on: https://bitlair.nl/Projects/Lockpicks_for_Dutch_Hackerspaces Happy picking!

East German secret policy and lockpicking

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

More than 12 years ago, Oli Diederichsen wrote a book about impressioning. It had quite an effect and nowadays we have impressioning championships in which working keys are filed in amazing times.

And now, Oli has written a new book (called “Stasi Secret Service Tools: Die geheimen Schlossöffnungswerkzeuge der Abteilung VIII“), about the former East German secret service and their research into locks and lock opening. They made combs (called “heavenly key”) and special opening tools for Trabant cars, the only car a normal person in Eastern Germany could buy. But they were also interested in locks from other places, including high security locks.

At the previous LockCon, Oli already showed his ongoing work including some really interesting pictures of the Stasi tools. The book is available in German only.

Toool on Romanian TV

Monday, November 13th, 2017

While doing a presentation at Def.camp conference, I learned about a ‘hack the ATM’ event. Looking at the machine, I realised the locks seemed the easiest entry point. I took out my lockpicking gear and within a minute both locks on the machine were open. The organisation later told me the rule was not to use physical access, but the Romanian TV had already picked it up, see https://www.libertatea.ro/ultima-ora/au-spart-un-bancomat-intr-un-minut-cei-mai-buni-hackeri-din-lume-sunt-zilele-aceasta-la-bucuresti-2034386.

It’s in Romanian so you’ll probably need a translator to understand it. The video itself is here (from 0’46):

To be honest: normally the bottom part has a safe lock as well, but it was not used in this case.

Toool on Dutch TV

Monday, November 13th, 2017

A while ago, we had the Dutch national TV at one of our meetings. A guy named ‘Klaas’ makes a show in which he says he can do anything. His challenge this time: to crack a safe. The show consists of three parts. In the first, Klaas meets up with Jos to learn lockpicking, only to find out it is a bit hard to do quickly. Then, he tries the brute force method, which is also not very practical. In the end, he resorts to a robo-dialler and manages to open the safe.

You can watch the video here, but the item is in Dutch (auto-translate is possible, but won’t work wonders):

Toool Club Competition Winners

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

For over 10 years, we have held yearly club competitions at Toool. We collect some 25 locks and allow all Toool members to have a go at them. At a normal competition, you get a lock you have never picked before and only one chance. In this club competition, you can really try to learn how the locks reacts, how different tools and techniques produce different results and you can have a go at really difficult locks. At the end of the competition, there are prizes awarded for three lockpickers who opened the most locks in the least amount of time.

The 2015 competition ended a few months ago and we finally handed out the prizes to the winners. The prizes are a plaque and a Tokoz PRO 300 cilinder, kindly sponsored by Tokoz. The winner is Walter Belgers, second place is for Christian Holler and Jos Weyers came in third.

We are already hard at work with the 2016 competition.

Club Competition Prizes

The first Toool meeting in Groningen – aftermath

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The first Toool meeting in Groningen was a succes!

One of the attendees was showing his homebrew snap tool:

The local television crew (RTV Noord) was also present. They shot some video (in Dutch).

The first Toool meeting in Groningen

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Toool Netherlands members have been gathering in Amsterdam and Eindhoven for years. But for some, the distance to either places is too big. Jord Knaap lives in Groningen and he is one of the members that is far away from both places. The good news is: he decided to take upon him to host Toool-meetings in Groningen! So with that, Toool is strategically placed throughout the Netherlands.

The first meeting will be held coming saturday, January 24th, starting at 17:00 hours at Cafe-Bar Jan Westerhoff, Rijksweg 4 in Groningen.

Jord is planning to have monthly meeting to start with. If you are interested, please go to the first meeting. This way, you can discuss what the best date and place is to have the meetings. Jord would like to know who is coming, so please also mail him in advance at jord@knaapjunior.nl. Bring some locks if you like, and spread the word if you have friends that would like such a thing as well!

Start of a new era!

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Since July, 2006, Barry Wels has been publishing great stuff about locks and security on his blog, Blackbag. May, 2014, he decided to stop.

Barry Wels is founder and long-time president of Toool, The Open Organisation of Lockpickers. In August, 2013, he stepped down from the Toool board to focus on his new company. I am the new president of Toool since then.

Barry has very kindly given Toool the opportunity to take over blackbag. We will be trying to get some interesting lock-related content on here in the near future! And there’s more good news: all the old content will remain available.

I would like to thank Barry for his outstanding work and hope to see all of you around on Blackbag in the years to come.

Walter Belgers

President Toool